Daily Archives: November 17, 2005

Item of the Day: A Fragment (1789)

Full Title:

A Fragment which Dropped from the Pocket of a Certain Lord, on Thursday, the 23d April, 1789, on His Way to St. Paul’s with the Grand Procession. With Notes by the Finder.

Anonymous. Printed in London for W. Priest, in Holborn; and sold by the Booksellers in Piccadilly, the Strand, Fleet Street, and Pater-Noster-Row, 1789.From Chap. I.

THE first character which strikes our view in this mutilated performance is that of Sir J-s-ph M-wb-y and indeed it must be confessed this great man, considered either as a fatter of bacon or a British Senator, is well entitled to that distinguished place our author has assigned him. He says,

Full oft I hear thee roar,
While Tories yawn and Whigs in concert snore;
Nor trust what wicked wags have often said,
That thou, Sir J-s-ph, are a
pig of lead.
The learned pig himself, who for a while
“Amaz’d th’ unlearn’d and make the learned smile;”
The learned pig himself (if Fame say true)
First learnt his
breeding and his tricks from you.

We could scarcely adopt the idea that the famous learned pig really received the rudiments of his education under the superintendance of this worthy Baronet, were we not convinced of it by calling to mind that the adroitness of this sagacious animal was no where more conspicuous than in his tricks on the cards. Indeed it is much to be regretted that Sir J-s-ph himself has not met with the same success that way; a circumstance our author laments in the following distich:

How like a stuck pig did he stare, to see
His tricks were
smok’d by all the company.

How well chosen are the epithets. A writer of less fire would have simply said, His tricks were seen; but our poet, always bearing in mind the hog trade, has judiciously chosen the word smok’d. And the justice of this epithet must be allowed by every one, who considers what a severe roast Sir J-s-ph underwent upon this occasion. But, as it is the greatest sign of skill, when we have given a broken head, to apply a plaister to it so here we find the most salutary advice offere, no doubt with an intention to heal the would already made in this great man’s reputation , from the circunstance before alluded to.


Leave a comment

Filed under 1780's, Culture, Posted by Carrie Shanafelt